As a mother of three I know how daunting pregnancy for first time mothers can be. The physical changes and strain that pregnancy places on the body can be rather stressful. I encourage my client’s to embrace the changes going on their body, because let’s face it, they will occur for 9 months and beyond. It’s important to realise getting uber fit whilst pregnant is not really a priority. Rather, it is a time to take good care of yourself and your beautiful baby growing inside. Once you embrace the pregnancy, rather than feeling like there is an “alien” developing within you, you can concentrate on preparing your body for the birth by engaging in regular exercise and eating a nutritious, balanced diet for you and baby.
I see hundreds of pregnant women a year, some of who are eager to commence a rigorous fitness regime despite the fact they haven’t been exercising at all before the pregnancy! My advice to all the expectant “Mammas” out there, is to continue what they have been doing. If they already have a set fitness routine and obviously when they reach the second and third trimester, take advice from a trainer who has pre and post natal expertise in exercise so as to engage in exercises which are safe to continue. For example engaging in HIIT style classes and lifting heavy in the second and third trimester would not be advisable.
Whilst pregnancy isn’t a time to ramp up your fitness routine, it also isn’t a time to let it all go. One thing we know for sure, is that exercise is beneficial for the expectant mother. We’d all love to lie around in our PJ’s scoffing foods we wouldn’t usually eat, but it’s not going to do us any favours whilst pregnant and when the baby arrives.
As I have taught and engaged in Pilates for 16 years, I am super biased when it comes to which type of exercises to engage in! For me it is Pilates all the way through my pregnancies. After training literally hundreds of pregnant women inclusive of myself, I can hands down say Pilates gets the best results. In the past 5 years I’ve combined Pilates with ballet barre movements, (PBBABY BARRE) and the results are a testament to the training method.
- HITS ALL THE RIGHT AREAS
The main benefit of Pilates is that it targets the exact muscles and functions that can be a problematic during pregnancy and after birth in a safe way. They will improve your core strength, especially the muscles around your pelvis and spine which are so important to stabilise the pelvis and lower back. This helps manage any niggling pregnancy back pain and joint pain. They also help avoid sciatica which can be very common in pregnancy.
- PERFECT POSTURE
Pilates and barre greatly improves your posture. As the pregnancy evolves we tend to get rounded shoulders as the breasts grow heavier. There can also be excessive lower back arching as the baby size increases causing back pain.
- STAY BALANCED
Balance can be thrown off whilst pregnant. Barre and Pilates help you work on the deeper stabilising muscles that help improve balance.
- POWER UP YOUR PELVIC FLOOR
- Pelvic floor exercises are imperative for pregnant women which are constantly reinforced within a Pilates and Baby Barre class. They will also teach you how to relax the pelvic floor and how to use it during child birth.
- PREPARATION + PREVENTION
Pilates/Barre will help prepare your body for the rigorous demands of labour. Your circulation will improve and keeping your body moving will avoid swollen ankles and other circulation issues of pregnancy.
- STRONG IN BODY, CALM IN MIND
-The Pilates breathing technique will not only ensure you are engaging core muscles, but also will have a calming effect on your mind and body and can be used whilst in labour. Engaging in classes will improve your mood and relive stress. And the bonus of pre-natal classes, you will meet other pregnant women that you can chat to and ‘compare notes.”